The Wire

  • New tunnel, premium RV section at Talladega Superspeedway on schedule despite weather


    Construction of a new oversized vehicle tunnel and premium RV infield parking section at Talladega Superspeedway is still on schedule to be completed in time for the April NASCAR race, despite large amounts of rainfall and unusual groundwater conditions underneath the track.

    Track Chairman Grant Lynch, during a news conference Wednesday at the track, said he’s amazed the general contractor, Taylor Corporation of Oxford, has been able to keep the project on schedule.

    “The amount of water they have pumped out of that and the extra engineering they did from the original design, basically to keep that tunnel from floating up out of the earth, was remarkable,” Lynch said.

  • Alabama workers built 1.6M engines in 2018 to add auto horsepower


    Alabama’s auto workers built nearly 1.6 million engines last year, as the state industry continues to carve out a place in global markets with innovative, high-performance parts, systems and finished vehicles.

    Last year also saw major new developments in engine manufacturing among the state’s key players, and more advanced infrastructure is on the way in the coming year.

    Hyundai expects to complete a key addition to its engine operations in Montgomery during the first half of 2019, while Honda continues to reap the benefits of a cutting-edge Alabama engine line installed several years ago.

  • Groundbreaking on Alabama’s newest aerospace plant made possible through key partnerships


    Political and business leaders gathered for a groundbreaking at Alabama’s newest aerospace plant gave credit to the formation of the many key partnerships that made it possible.

    Governor Kay Ivey and several other federal, state and local officials attended the event which celebrated the construction of rocket engine builder Blue Origin’s facility in Huntsville.

5 months ago

Guest opinion: Alabamians need practical solutions for health care

(J. Biden for President/Facebook, YHN

Democratic frontrunner and former Vice President Joe Biden recently unveiled his health care plan. While this public option plan may not sound as extreme as some plans for his other fellow candidates pushing Medicare-for-all, it’s not moderate at all. Any provision that would create a public option to compete with private insurance is an impractical plan that would harm hardworking Americans.

No one disagrees that health care costs are too high, but we should be focusing on improving the system we currently have in which more than 90 percent of Americans are covered. Vice President Biden seems to understand this as he has opposed the push for a “Medicare for All” system that other Democratic presidential candidates are calling for. But this plan would ultimately lead to a government-run health care system through under-pricing private health insurers and abolishing the free-market system, making the public option the only option.


He should not mask his intentions for a universal health care system by calling it a “public option,” which is just a hop, skip and a jump away from government-controlled health care. A public option would not only cause premiums in the private insurance market to rise, but it would also lead to higher taxes for hardworking people and could potentially result in longer wait times for lesser quality care. This is not the solution most Americans want from our elected officials.

What most people want is to build upon our current health care system and work to address the issues that still persist. For the good of Alabamians and all Americans, I hope Vice President Biden corrects his course and focuses on practical ways to improve health care in our country.

Sallie Bryant is executive director of the Alabama Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors.

9 months ago

Congress should consider real solutions to health care reform, not buzzwords


Last week, members of the House unveiled their Medicare-for-All bill, legislation that would largely overhaul the nation’s health care system. You don’t have to look far to see that access to health care is a priority for many nationally and especially here in Alabama. Our country has made strides to improve the health care system and while there’s still work to be done, government-run health care is not the solution.

“Medicare for All” is a buzzword, a campaign talking point at best, but not a practical answer. When dealing with health care, we must look at commonsense solutions that align with the needs of Alabamians and all Americans, not just those vying for the 2020 Democratic presidential candidacy.


The Kaiser Family Foundation reports that 150 million Americans get their coverage through their employer and 80 percent of people with these employer-sponsored plans are happy with their coverage. Additionally, 49 percent of Alabamians receive employer coverage.

However, the recent House bill calls for a one-size-fits-all approach to health care through a government-run system that would eliminate private health insurance as we know it. This plan would negatively impact consumer choice and control over their care. Today, 91 percent of Americans receive coverage under the current system. A single-payer system would disrupt the coverage millions of Americans depend on.

Like in many countries, health care costs continue to rise in the United States, and we need to focus on improving affordability. The Urban Institute estimates that a single payer system would be excessively expensive, with an estimated cost of $32 trillion. It would also raise taxes by billions of dollars every year, requiring American families to pay more and more. For Alabamians already struggling, this would be an added burden for them and an increased economic drain on our state.

On the surface, this plan may sound appealing, but it would harm those it’s intended to help the most: patients. The patient impact of this legislation is longer wait times in emergency rooms and doctors’ offices and lower quality of care. Despite most Americans being happy with their health insurance, everyone would have to give it up for a more limited plan, limiting their choice of healthcare provider and access to care.

America’s health care system needs improvement but a healthcare overhaul that would start completely from scratch and place decisions in the hands of government is not the solution. We must encourage lawmakers to make strides to improve the affordability of health care without enacting unrealistic policies that hurt all Americans.

As our leaders in Washington work to identify ways to improve the system, I encourage them to consider real solutions to health care reform, not ideas propped up by buzzwords and empty promises.

Sallie Bryant is executive director of the Alabama Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors.